What I’m reading (March 2022)

You absolutely can’t write science fiction and fantasy without knowing what’s being published. It’s always better not to reinvent the wheel unless you can make your wheel very different. Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education begins a new trilogy about the Scholomance – a school for magicians – but forget about Hogwarts, this school is deadly and only the best (or luckiest) survive the everyday perils. When graduation comes, they will all be chucked in a pit with a bunch of powerful mals, hungry for flesh and for magic. Those who get out alive are deemed to have graduated.

Like everyone, I have my list of favourites – buy-on-sight authors whose books I will drop everything else to devour. This list includes: Lois McMaster Bujold, Jodi Taylor, T Kingfisher, Leigh Bardugo, Patricia Briggs etc. I’m not going to name the whole list here, and besides it’s flexible.

Sometimes I’ll rush to buy everything in one specific series by a certain author, such as Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus books, but as that series comes to an end (which it has just done with Risen) I’ll wait to see what’s next from Mr. Jacka. He’s starting a new urban fantasy series according to his web page, so I’ll certainly give it a go.

I adore Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats books and have just found a collection of Greatcoats short stories: Tales of the Greatcoats #1. I galloped through it, delighted to revisit some of my favourite characters.

I need to catch up with Juliet E McKenna’s back catalogue, but I’m really enjoying her Green Man books – four so far, starting with The Green Man’s Heir.

I try to read not just my favourites, but also books that are slightly out of my comfort zone. Sometimes this leads me down interesting pathways. I recently read The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett, book #1 in a sequence called,  Her Majesty the Queen Investigates. This is certainly not the type of book I would normally read, but it caught my attention on an Audible two for one sale and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It’s lightweight and cosy, a whodunit in which the investigator is Queen Elizabeth II at the age of eighty-nine, going on ninety. The reading, by Samantha Bond, is superb, she captures the voice of the Queen beautifully.

Last year I found books by K.J. Charles and I quickly read my way through her Will Darling books, starting with Slippery Creatures, set in post World War I Britain. I read this because of a good review on Goodreads from someone whose opinion I trust, and I’m glad I did. It’s not my usual reading fodder, but I really enjoyed it. It’s well-paced, and the characters are complex and multi-layered. On top of the adventure and the violence there’s an emerging m/m romance (with explicit sex) that plays out alongside the adventure.

Because I blog everything I read – here on Dreamwidth [https://jacey.dreamwidth.org/] I’m registered with Netgalley [https://www.netgalley.com/] which means I can get advance reading copies of upcoming books. I usually stick to science fiction and fantasy and occasionally some Regency romance (my guilty pleasure).

I’m delighted to say that I just got an advance reading copy (ARC) of Jodi Taylor’s upcoming St Mary’s novel, A Catalogue of Catastrophe. I have this on advance order from Amazon, anyway. It’s publication date is 28th April 2022, so I’ve got it a few weeks in advance of its release day, and I’m more than happy to review it. I’ve dropped everything else to read it, and I’m loving it so far.

I review everything I read on my own blog, on Goodreads, and usually on Amazon as well. It’s important to review and spread the word about books. I ask people to put reviews of my books on Amazon because fifty reviews (no matter how short) or more gets my book shown to more potential readers. So I do the same for others. What goes around, comes around.

So what else have I read recently? Checking back over my list of books read in 2021, I realise that I’ve read a lot of John Scalzi’s books – his Old Man’s War sequence and his Interdependency trilogy, plus standalones such as his Fuzzy Nation (a riff on H Beam Piper’s Fuzzy) and (most recently) The Kaiju Preservation Society. Plus a couple of shorter works which I think are exclusively on Audible – The Dispatcher and Murder by Other Means. I haven’t yet caught up with all Scalzi’s back catalogue, but he’s rapidly approaching my buy-on-sight list.

Of course I don’t love everything I read, and I confess that these days I’m less inclined to soldier on through something I’m not enjoying. I have a book-meets-wall file, but the least said about the books in it, the better. Sometimes it’s not about the book, it’s that it doesn’t suit my mood at the time.

When I’ve finished A Catalogue of Catastrophe, I have Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher lined up, and then perhaps David Tallerman’s The Outfit: The Absolutely True Story Of The Time Joseph Stalin Robbed a Bank for Lenin’s Revolution. As always there are too many books and too little time.

What are you reading?

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (www.jaceybedford.co.uk), the secretary of Milford SF Writers (www.milfordSF.co.uk), a singer (www.artisan-harmony.com) and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (www.jacey-bedford.com).
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